Stephane Jacques, Surveillance Operator at North Bay’s 22 Wing Royal Canadian Air Force base, knows his job this Christmas comes with a lot of pressure.
In just his second year with the Canadian Armed Forces, Jacques will be in the control room helping the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) track Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
“I don’t think anyone has to be worried that Santa won’t be tracked this year due to COVID,” Jacques told the media on Friday.
This year marks NORAD’s 65th Christmas tracking Santa’s arrival into North American air space.
Jacques, hailing from a town near Quebec City, appears to be channelling his childhood excitement around the Christmas season.
“I remember when I was a kid, I would write letters to Santa,” the aviator said. “It’s exciting because I’m on the other end now and I get to track Santa around the world.”
On Thursday, Santa Claus’s Christmas operation was deemed an essential service by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, something that Jacques appreciates.
“I’m happy even despite COVID and the other stuff going on in the world, we still are able to do this and track Santa Claus and all the kids can know that he’s safe,” he commented.
Despite it being his first year in the control room tracking the jolly old man, Jacques is welcome to the challenge.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine, my job can have a lot of pressure sometimes. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pull through,” he assured.
When Santa descends into Canadian airspace, Jacques says 22 Wing and NORAD are prepared to escort him safely.
“We have radars, we have satellites, we have our fighter jets and we have our Santa cams that are specifically designed to track Santa and his reindeer,” he explained.
You’ll be able to follow St. Nick’s journey through NORAD’s Santa tracking website, or you can call directly into the airbase (1-877-HI-NORAD) on Christmas Eve for updates.
You can also tune into 106.3 Moose FM on Christmas Eve for live updates between 6 and 9 pm.